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Judge Approves Weight Guidelines For Flight Attendants

August 28, 1991

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ An agreement that relaxes the standards for the maximum weight of American Airlines flight attendants was approved Wednesday by a federal judge.

Lawyers for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Association of Professional Flight Attendants had sued, alleging the previous standards were discriminatory.

Under the old guidelines, a 5-foot-5 female flight attendant had to weigh 129 pounds or less, American spokeswoman Andrea Rader said. But in the new rules, an attendant of that height, aged 20 to 24, can weigh 133 pounds or less, and 145 pounds or less if she is aged 40 to 44.

Under the airline’s old standards, a 6-foot-tall male flight attendant had to weigh 180 pounds or less. Now, the range goes up to 197 pounds, depending on age.

The Fort Worth-based airline said the new standards are based on a computer model of weight patterns of adults and take into account weight variations between U.S. men and women, and gains associated with aging.

Ms. Rader said about one dozen flight attendants who had been terminated under the old guidelines since 1985 will be reinstated.

″They will get full seniority, which is very important to a flight attendant,″ she said. ″You’d get a better choice of flight schedules when you bid for your schedules.″

Reinstated attendants also will get two years of service credited toward their pension, Ms. Rader said.

Lawsuits by the attendants’ union and EEOC had contended that the previous standards, developed and approved by court order in 1977, discriminated on the basis of age and sex.

U.S. District Judge Eldon B. Mahon said the new standards would take effect immediately.

″We are very pleased to have a new set of standards that all agree are reasonable and non-discriminatory,″ Janet Kraus, American’s managing director of flight services, said in a prepared statement.

The flight attendants’ union did not immediately return a reporter’s phone call on Wednesday.

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